The Early Days of a Better Nation

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Axis of Agony

There can be few who don't feel anguish at the sight of the Russian school seige and mass terrorist hostage-taking of 400 people, half of them children. The agony of the parents whose children are at the mercy of the murderous Chechen terrorists and the ruthless and bungling Russian security forces is painful to imagine. The prospect of a bloodbath like this anywhere is horrible enough, but its location is one that may yet concern the rest of us.

Northern Ossetia borders not only Chechnya but Southern Ossetia, which is the only place in the world where Russian and US troops are physically present on opposite sides of a shooting war, albeit (for now) a low-key one. (US-backed Georgia is trying to hold on to South Ossetia, whose population has either fled north or is eager to separate from Georgia and re-unify with Russia.) Ossetians are the people everybody called Alan is named after, which may be a subtle clue that messing with Ossetians is not a good idea. The Caucasus could become for this century what the Balkans were for the last.

The usual sensitive background analysis is provided by the War Nerd.


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